23 December 2009

Was Thomsen An C1=CAsC=C1?

The Times reports, "Libel gag on talk of 'medical hurricane'" and the blogosphere continues with, "GE Healthcare's Idiotic Libel Suit
Email This Entry
".

The reports both have a theme of big pharma tries to crush noble scientist and prevent him from telling the truth."

C1=CAsC=C1 ?

But here is a link to the particulars of the claim against Thomsen, along with his presentation.

GE claim that Thomsen was saying that they were guilty of knowingly exposing patients to a serious medical condition. Ultimately, as this case continues the court will decide whether or not this is true.

The more I think about the case and as I slowly digest these particulars of the claim, I wonder whether or not GE have a point.

Another two points, perhaps to be developed in another post, is why is only Thomsen being sued instead of both Thomsen and his employer? Surely, they are vicariously liable? And, why wasn't his presentation checked over by lawyers?

Update 10th January 2011. GE Healthcare Settles Libel Lawsuit Over Omniscan With Radiologist. I'm eleven months behind the times but nevertheless the story is still interesting.

"Neither party disclosed details of the settlement, but both [...], made conciliatory statements ...
....
Thomsen said. “It was not my intention to suggest on the basis of the evidence then available to me that GE Healthcare had marketed Omniscan knowing that it might cause NSF.”
....
GE officials also said their actions were misunderstood.

“It was not the intention of GE Healthcare by bringing proceedings for libel against Professor Thomsen to stifle academic debate,” said Dr. Lynne Gailey, executive vice-president of GE Healthcare communications. “GE Healthcare objected to statements made by Professor Thomsen which it interpreted as suggesting that it had known from the outset that Omniscan caused NSF. GE Healthcare accepts, however, that Professor Thomsen’s concerns were expressed in good faith. GE Healthcare regrets that these proceedings were necessary to reach the common understanding described in this statement.”
"

I still think that the fault in this episode lay with the employers of Professor Thomsen. I don't doubt that they supply legal advice and protection with everything else he does with regard to his work: why not with publishing?

They wouldn't let him unwittingly break employment law, health and safety laws, etc - why is defamation law such a blind spot?

I've just read Opinion: “The chill on scientific debate: could an old solution be re-heated?” Godwin Busuttil, particularly the comment by Alastair Mullis,

"Second, while I might have some confidence that some editors / peer reviewers of legal journals would at least have some knowledge of the law of libel and therefore read the article with this in mind, I would not be so confident that those from other disciplines would approach the task in the same way. Why should the fact that two scientists who have peer reviewed a journal submission and described it as scientifically sound mean that it is thereby protected under the law of libel? Would everything in the article be protected (assuming not malicious) or only those statements / imputations directly relevant to the scientific subject matter?"

The 'old solution' was that of providing a statutory privilege for articles written in scientific journals with the provision that, "all journals seeking to rely on it must be approved by and registered with an appropriate authority, " which sounds like a recipe for disaster.

The 'old solution' is what made me think of Professor Thomsen and his spat with GE.

22 December 2009

Strictly Secret?

In a story from the Daily Mail, "Ricky Whittle calls for Beeb to release Strictly Come Dancing voting figures ...

"Strictly Come Dancing runner up Ricky Whittle is calling for the BBC to release the voting figures for the series.

BBC Breakfast sports presenter Chris Hollins clinched the title with partner Ola Jordan on Saturday despite Hollyoaks actor Ricky, and professional Natalie Lowe, being judged as a better dancers technically.
"

Ricky's call is being taken up by Lib-Dem Lord Tyker,

"Liberal Democrate peer Lord Tyker has tabled a parliamentary question on the issue calling for the BBC to be transparent.

'It's completely ludicrous to claim that the Corporation shouldn't make clear how well each couple did in the Strictly final.

'The technology is there, so why the smoke and mirrors?
"

While from the BBC,

"A BBC spokesman said the figures would not be released: 'We never reveal exact figures from our shows as we have a relationship of trust with our contestants and it would be unfair to disclose the exact nature of difference in their popularity.'"

So, why doesn't Ricky et al (ie members of the public) submit a Freedom of Information Request for the results?

It appears that the "FOIA applies to the BBC only “in respect of information held for purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”."

If the voting results for 'Strictly Come Dancing' is information that is held for purposes of journalism, art or literature; the BBC, with this regard, is no longer a public authority and the Freedom of Informatin Act doesn't apply.

As highlighted by Panopticon (above),

"“the BBC has no obligation to disclose information which they hold to any significant extent for the purposes of journalism, art or literature, whether or not the information is also held for other purposes.” (See para. 65 of Sugar)."

I don't think that the voting results in 'Strictly' could be described as being held for the derogated purposes; not even de minimis; of all the people who take an interest in popular TV shows, it is difficult not to believe that one of them would have the wits to submit a freedom of information request.

One to watch; especially if the competition was rigged.

(Sefton Delmer never had this problem.)

21 December 2009

21 Years Today

The Lockerbie Disaster, perhaps made worse by the Lockerbie Case.

Very depressing.

More Twirl With That Sir?

Twirly mol just got better: Noel O'Blog explains the modifications and updates.
So, here's
oxytocin
- smiles: NC(=O)CNC(=O)[C@H](CC(C)C)NC(=O)C1CCCN1C(=O)C2CSSC[C@H](N)C(=O)N[C@H](Cc3ccc(O)cc3)C(=O)N[C@H]([C@H](C)CCC)C(-O)N[C@H](CCC(=O)N)C(=O)N[C@H](CC(=O)N)C(=O)N2 -
note to self: check stereochem



17 December 2009

ELA on JFS

The best analysis of the JFS case (racial discrimination with regard to admission to a Jewish school) so far on the blogosphere is from ELA.


(Note to self) ...

One point that is of interest to me is the discussion of the objective test of ethnicity. Bear in mind that this is legal objectivity rather than scientific objectivity.

Apology for what?



"David Miliband, the foreign secretary, also phoned Livni, and called his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, to apologise."

The story is well known by now and is covered in, "Outcry over plan to give attorney general veto on war crimes warrants"

A former Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni had to cancel her trip to the UK because someone managed to get a warrant out for her arrest for war crimes.

This may or may not be just depending upon your point of view but what is curious about the affair is Miliband's apology. What could the basis be of his apology? "I'm sorry but in the UK we have the rule of Law? Please accept my apologies that we haven't managed to trash it, yet."


Goldstone Report
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

16 December 2009

For how long?

The Guardian has an interesting story in, "UK fury as Germany prosecutes Daniel Ubani, GP who gave fatal dose."

In short, the UK has screwed up its provision of General Practitioners to the populace with the result that locums are being imported from across Europe. A locum from Germany gave a negligently high dose of painkiller to a patient in the UK, who died as a result. The locum returned to Germany and, unknown to the British prosecuting authorities, threw himself upon the mercy of the German courts. These courts found the locum guilty, gave him a nine-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of €5,000.

The CPS are upset that they did not have the chance to prosecute the locum. By the time the European Arrest Warrant had been issued the case was done and dusted. The German and British authorities are arguing the toss as to who should have been allowed to try the case under the European Arrest Warrant system:-

i) should the prosecution take place in the jurisdiction where the offence took place; or,

ii) should it take place under the jurisdiction of the nationality of the offender?

We're still waiting for an answer. (Will update if I have time to find the answer).

Meanwhile ...

"[The Locum's] solicitor, Reinhard Shauwienold, said: "Dr Ubani is practising again, and will continue to do so for a long time to come. No conditions have been attached to his ability to practise. He can work, unrestricted as far as I am aware, both as a cosmetic surgeon and as a GP.""

While ...

"UK medical regulators have suspended Ubani's registration in Britain but German prosecutors said: "The case was not of sufficient severity for the court to have been able to ban him from working.""

The latter action - the suspension - will most probably be illegal.

So, for how long will the locum be suspended? I wouldn't be surprised if he's back in the UK this weekend, injecting someone near you.


Correction ... Anonymous 13:47 points out that, "UK officials say they never expected prosecutors in Germany to take their own action against Daniel Ubani, a German national, after they issued a European arrest warrant to bring him back to Britain on a possible manslaughter charge."

Thanks for the interest and close-reading abilities.


Update - 19th June 2010. Locum GP struck off medical register for fatal overdose, presumably his suspension was in place until he was struck off.

15 December 2009

What's in it for them?

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has prepared a number of webpages about Academies.

Following the links it is possible to find the definition,

"[a]cademies are all-ability, state-funded schools established and managed by sponsors from a wide range of backgrounds, including high performing schools and colleges, universities, individual philanthropists, businesses, the voluntary sector, and the faith communities. Some are established educational providers, and all of them bring a record of success in other enterprises which they are able to apply to their Academies in partnership with experienced school managers.".

One such academy is Castle View who are sponsored to the tune of £1.35 million over five years by Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL).

Why?

What's in it for NWL and what do they know about education?

Same old, same old

The Asia Times publishes the, "Trail of Afghanistan's drug money exposed By Julien Mercille" in which the post war tale is told of US involvement in drug smuggling.

We were shocked once, now we wonder why they bother reporting it. Nothing will happen, no one will be indicted. There wont be a trial, no one will be jailed.

Anyway, here's the real McCoy from way back when ...

Sycophancy Towards Power

Ken McDonald, former Director of Public Prosecutions, has shared his thoughts with us regarding the Chilcot inquiry and Tony Blair in an article in The Times, "Intoxicated by power, Blair tricked us into war."

The well written prose is certainly worth reading.

But what is of interest to me is the expression, sycophancy towards power, found in the article.

Interesting because I've met a number of people who have this flaw but I haven't known quite how to articulate it.

I haven't seen this behaviour in a political environment for lack of experience of such; however, I have often seen it in a corporate environment.

Management meetings have been chaired by someone fairly low in the hierarchy at which opinions have been expressed. However, if the process is repeated with a different chair person who is higher in the corporate structure, the previously expressed opinions cannot be relied upon. In these situations some people express a view that is sycophantic toward the chair. The previously expressed opinions are quickly jettisioned in favour of one more conducive to the chair. It's a pernicious form of 'yes-man' behaviour; but worse, since it lacks the transparency of 'yes-man' behaviour.

What's worse, I've also seen this sort of thing in meetings with customers. Not from the customers but towards the customers.

All very strange.

10 December 2009

S76 PACE

Section 76 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 allows the Court, in a trial, to decide whether or not a confession is admissible as evidence.

When considering the admissibility of evidence, one has to constantly weight up its probative value (does it tell the court anything) against its prejudicial value.

This is what I thought of when reading the latest note from Mindhacks, "The persuasive power of false confessions".

The article discusses how people begin to disbelieve other evidence that may contradict a (false) confession, since a confession is given a greater weight.

"Imagine if an accused but innocent person falsely confesses and the other evidence doesn't suggest that they have committed the crime. In this situation, it turns out that both lay people and experts tend to change their evaluation of the other evidence and perceive it as being stronger evidence against the accused."


The Mindhacks note (like this post) is derivative and links to, "The Psychology and Power of False Confessions."

This article gives examples of the effect of other evidence being tainted by a confession. One of which refers to fingerprint evidence,

"In 2006, University College London psychologist Itiel Dror took a group of six fingerprint experts and showed them samples that they themselves had, years before, determined either to be matches or non-matches (though they weren’t told they had already seen these fingerprints). The experts were now given some context: either that the fingerprints came from a suspect who confessed or that they came from a suspect who was known to be in police custody at the time the crime was committed. In 17 percent of the non-control tests, experimenters changed assessments that they had previously made correctly. Four of the six experts who participated changed at least one judgment based on the new context. “And that’s fingerprint judgments,” Kassin said. “That’s not considered malleable. And yet there was some degree of malleability and one of the ways to influence it was to provide information about the confession.”"

Mmm, so there we have it. A method of manipulating evidence which will be known to every experienced detective wittingly or otherwise. As soon as the fingerprint examiner supports the detectives hunch, he can't go back on it.

Update 15th Jan 2010 - Mindhacks has dug up another article on false confessions, "...a suspect’s confession sets in motion a virtually irrefutable presumption of guilt among criminal justice officials, the media, the public and lay jurors. A suspect who confesses—whether truthfully or falsely—will be treated more harshly at every stage of the criminal justice process." The Mindhack article is based on, "The Problem of False Confessions in the Post DNA World" [pdf] and illustrates the importance of s76 of PACE.

09 December 2009

Iang on Bowles

Not much to add, iang has said it all here,

"In the very sad story of the Justice System as we know it, a British courts has ruled the beginning of the end."


The note is a story about POCA abuse which is an inevitable consequence of the governance issues surrounding how this legislation works.

Climategate Prosecution?


In an earlier post I discussed whether or not the climategate scientists should be subjected to a private prosecution (for fraud, misconduct in public office and breaches of the Freedom of Information Act, see s77) by one of the UK's Royal Societies.

The call for prosecution wasn't born of malice; rather, to get to the bottom of 1) whether or not there has been any wrong doing, and 2) to restore the reputation of science done by the Climate Research Unit.

It may well be that there is simply smoke and no fire; or none with which to begin a prosecution. An open and transparent process of a private prosecution - because the stakes are so high - would bring some clarity.

07 December 2009

Blawg Award

Employment Law Advocates

The award for impressive blawg goes to ... drum roll ... James Medhurst of Employment Law Advocates.

The blawg is an impressive shop window for what this firm offers.

The award acknowledges the lucid prose, interesting cases and provision of links to judgments.

As usual, I add the hope that my silly drawing doesn't take anything away from the sincerity of this post and the quality of the blawg that I acknowledge.

04 December 2009

The Royal Society and The Royal Society of Chemistry v Phil Jones

Should one of the UK's scientific societies launch a private prosecution against Phil Jones if the East Anglia email hack provides sufficient evidence?

News reports so far suggest that the scientists behind East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit may be liable in fraud, misconduct in public office and s77 of the Freedom of Information Act. Of course, without trawling through all of these emails with a view to building a case against the purported scientists at the centre of this scandal, it is difficult to form a sensible view as to their culpability. The internet provides reasonable arguments saying that they may be guilty of these (and perhaps other) offences; while other arguments suggest that the emails have been quoted out of context and misconstrued such that the people involved appear to be a lot worse than what they are.

I don't know the truth of the matter. Nor does anyone else, at the moment.

Shouldn't one of the prestigious societies take an interest in whether or not it would be possible to prosecute anyone in this case?

It would certainly clear the air if they did.

If a genuine attempt was made, under section 6 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, and the Prosecutors Code was applied with a report produced explaining why they were not prepared to prosecute if that was their finding. If, on the other hand, it was thought that there was sufficient evidence, and the facts fitted with the tests in the prosecutors code, then there should be a prosecution.

I think that this process would go a long way to restoring the reputation of the science that is being done in East Anglia.

Reports tells us, "Climategate: UN panel on climate change to investigate claims" but it would be better if one of the societies were to take the lead.

03 December 2009

μPEDs

DOI: 10.1039/b917150a
Extremely impressive paper.

"... the fabrication and the performance of microfluidic paper-based electrochemical sensing devices (we call the microfluidic paper-based electrochemical devices, μPEDs). The μPEDs comprise paper-based microfluidic channels patterned by photolithography or wax printing, and electrodes screenprinted from conducting inks (e.g., carbon or Ag/AgCl). We demonstrated that the μPEDs are capable of quantifying the concentrations of various analytes (e.g., heavy-metal ions and glucose) in aqueous solutions. This low-cost analytical device should be useful for applications in public health, environmental monitoring, and the developing world."

Haven't read the paper since I'm an information have not rather than an information have ... but it looks very impressive from the absract.

01 December 2009

Climate Research Unit and Fraud Act 2006

Simply, are the Climate Research Unit authors of the now, infamous emails, liable under the provisions of the Fraud Act 2006?

Eg,

"2 Fraud by false representation
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he
(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b) intends, by making the representation
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
(2) A representation is false if
(a) it is untrue or misleading, and
(b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
(3) Representation means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of
(a) the person making the representation, or
(b) any other person.
(4) A representation may be express or implied.
(5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention)."


The question as to whether or they are liability goes to the question of honesty, or otherwise. If it can be shown that there is dishonesty in these dealings, then they are liable.


The destruction of documents in order to avoid compliance with a freedom of information request would incur liability under, section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which provides,

"77 — (1) Where—
(a) a request for information has been made to a public authority, and
(b) under section 1 of this Act or section 7 of the M1 Data Protection Act 1998, the applicant would have been entitled (subject to payment of any fee) to communication of any information in accordance with that section,
any person to whom this subsection applies is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to the communication of which the applicant would have been entitled.
(2) Subsection (1) applies to the public authority and to any person who is employed by, is an officer of, or is subject to the direction of, the public authority.
"


Further thoughts to go with Fraud and s77 FOI Act liabilities are ... Misconduct in Public Office,

"The elements of misconduct in public office are:

a) A public officer acting as such.
[surely the CRU 'scientists' are public officers]

b) Wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself.
[which will be determined by an equiry of some sort]

c) To such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder.

d) Without reasonable excuse or justification.
"

Scientific Validity









Scientific Validity - does the principle support what it purports to show?

Scientific validity is a difficult and slippery idea; just because the scientific method is being applied, hypothesis followed by experiment to test the hypothesis, doesn't necessarily mean that the conclusion is valid.

Whether or not the process is valid will depend upon the elements that make it up, such as, what hypothesis or model is being used. Is there any bias present, is the data accurate, reliable? Are there any ethical considerations that may have skewed the data?

Hypothesis or Model

Consider the question, is there such a thing as drug addiction? In order to answer the question, we put some rats in a cage and give them two food/water supplies: one clean, one adulterated with something such as an opiate.

In this experimental set up we can collect data which shows that the rats eat the opiate supply in preference to the non-opiate supply. Which proves it, doesn't it?

What if the rats are taking the opiates in order to relieve themselves from living a miserable existence; alone, trapped in a tiny cage as they grow older and die.

What would happen if the rats could live in groups, with lots of space, in a pleasant interesting environment - would opiates be addictive in this case?

This was the situation in Rat Park, follow the link to find out what happened.

Here's another hypothesis - it is possible to tell from the bumps on your head your personality, character and general intelligence. At least, that was what was believed not very long ago.

Are the theoretical underpinnings of the research sound?

For example, is there such a thing as race (in an objective rather than subjective sense)?

Bias

Where is the funding coming from? Are you reporting to a political party and would you get sacked if you produced the "wrong" results?

Data

Is the data from a sampling study? Was the sample size large enough, were the samples taken random and so representative of the whole?

Is the data reliable? For example, where and how were the temperatures taken? Is a fraction of a degree real or experimental error?

How about presenting data; is it all there, or has some been left out because it doesn't support the hypothesis?

Ethics

Drug trials are conducted under ethical rules, instead of testing drugs on people (initially, that is) they are tested on animals. But is the animal an appropriate substitute?

There is a lot more to write than the above, what is written is just a small taste of the problems and difficulty associated with the idea.

Update - Climategate and Scientific Conduct, Derek's post on some work that has questionablel validity.
2nd Dec 2009 - Another note regarding validity from Org Prep Daily.

30 November 2009

BZ

Apologies for the self indulgence, I'm just playing with TwirlyMol.
Click and drag to rotate (left mouse button), zoom/twist (right button) or translate (middle button).




Smiles string - C1(CC2)[C@H](OC(=O)C(O)(c3ccccc3)(c4ccccc4))CN2CC1

(no particular reason for the written stereochem).

Wikipedia link - 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate

Preparation - Patent number: 3899497

29 November 2009

Cor, TwirlyMol and Chemical Identifier Resolver

I heard about it from Carbon Based Curiousities, who provided a link to, Noel O'Blog who explains all.

"Markus Sitzmann of the NCI/CADD team has been busy. He has combined the Chemical Identifier Resolver with TwirlyMol to enable you to convert any chemical identifier to a 3D model that can you interact with in your webpage. I'm very excited about this as I think that people will find this very useful."


Noel O'Blog goes on to give detailed instructions as to how to use the script. I say, 'detailed'; the instructions are really simple, a case of cutting 'n' pasting with some modifications of identifiers. I produced the structure of the Cannabis Mimic below,





Again, letting Noel O'Nlog explain,

"Just put this in your webpage:

<div id="DIVNAME" height="200" width="200"></div>

<script src="http://cactus.nci.nih.gov/chemical/structure/
CHEMICAL_IDENTIFIER/twirl?div_id=DIVNAME"></script>

Replace DIVNAME with a unique name, and replace CHEMICAL_IDENTIFIER with any of the chemical identifiers accepted by the Chemical Structure Resolver; for example, a common name for a chemical, an InChI, or a SMILES string.
"

Well done all involved.

Baffled by Chirality

Yesterday I wrote about a deracemization procedure that had been reported in the literature and suggested a means at which it could be modified such that it could be effected under continuous flow, rather than batch, conditions.

see, "Contactor Separator - Grinding Induced Attrition - Prior Art"


Well, here's another suggestion that could constitute prior art.

The authors of the cited paper make a point about discussing Oswald ripening. I've used Oswald ripening in the past in order to grow crystals such that I could meet a customer specification of a particular crystal size. This was done on a tonne scale in batches. The technique consists of forming a slurry of crystals in a suitable solvent and passing the mixture through a number of heating and cooling cycles. The difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures is usually small (eg, 10 °C); as the mixture heats up, some of the crystals dissolve, the smallest ones, as the mixture cools back, the size of the already present crystals increase as another layer of crystals form on their surfaces.

My idea in the previous post didn't allow for any Oswald ripening; concentrating, instead on the attrition effect that was mentioned.

In order to do the necessary Oswald ripening I would use an oscillatory flow reactor, where each of the portions of the reactor between each baffle had a temperature difference (eg, of 10°C).

The technique would run as follows: a slurry consisting of solvent (with racemic product), solid racemic conglomerate mixture, racemization agent and enantiomeric seed would be charged into the oscillatory flow reactor. It would be anticipated than any necessary attrition would come from the undidssolved crystals. If the first chamber was a cooling chamber, a greater amount of enantiomer would exist in the resulting slurry due to entrainment (see earlier post), entering the second (warmer) chamber would necessarily dissolve the racemic mixture due to its greater solubility properties (recall that this process is for conglomerates). Meanwhile, throughout these processes the racemization agent would ensure that the solution was a racemic mixture. The process would be repeated as it went through the next set of chambers in the reactor, and so on, until homochiral product was formed which could be collected by filtration.

Sand could even be added to the mixture in order to effect attrition, if necessary. The resulting enantiomeric product could be separated in a separate, dissolution filtration, crystallisation step.

28 November 2009

Contactor Separator - Grinding Induced Attrition - Prior Art

I'm impressed by the deracemization procedure described in "Grinding Induced Attrition" (sarcastic comments aside) where a racemic mixture was converted from a slurry containing a racemization agent to a slurry where the solid consisted of one of the enantiomers in the original slurry. See the post and links for details.

Rather than using glass beads to to do the grinding, I would use a contactor-separator of the sort I discussed in the post, "Contactor-Separator".
As you can see the image is lifted from the reference in "Contactor-Separator" along with labels appropriate to that usage.

So that it could be used to effect the chiral crystallization described, I would slowly charge it with a racemic slurry containing the racemization agent, and the appropriate homochiral seed. It is anticipated that the inlet would need an Archimedean screw to force the slurry into the contactor whilst the annular mixing gap would also be small enough to cause the necessary attrition. Whether this would be successful would depend upon the friability, or otherwise, of the solid component of the slurry. As the mixture is forced through the apparatus, it is anticipated that the enriched-entrained solid would be formed by crystallisation in the internal centrifuge. Conditions (spin, flow-rate and temperature) would need to be sought where the slurry would still exist as a slurry such that separation could occur. The two streams would then be recombined and passed through the apparatus again: note that it would not be necessary to seed the mixture.

The recombination and recycling would be repeated until the solid consisted entirely of the appropriate enantiomer. At this point the outlet would be directed to a simple settling tank in order to remove the homochiral product; which would, of course, be replaced at the inlet by racemic mixture.

If the removal of enantiomeric product and the addition of racemic starting material were done at the same rate; a rate that was less than the rate of deracemization, the process would operate under continuous flow conditions.

If I had the capital to reduce this concept of invention to practice, I would do so. Unfortunately, I don't. Here it is if anyone wants to use it.
Update 29th November 2009. I realise that the above process doesn't have any Oswald ripening in it; perhaps a better process would use an oscillatory flow reactor as described in Baffled by Chirality.
Update 23rd June 2010. Rather than using a contact separator, this paper, Scaling Up Attrition-Enhanced Deracemization by Use of an Industrial Bead Mill in a Route to Clopidogrel (Plavix), used a bead mill; the paper is behind a pay wall so it isn't clear whether or not the process is batch or continuous flow.

Grinding Induced Attrition

Angewandte has just published a mini-review, "From Ostwald Ripening to Single Chirality" which explains that,

"Ostwald ripening, is thought to be involved in a recently discovered method in which grinding-induced attrition is used to transform racemic conglomerates virtually quantitatively into a single enantiomer."

The process is illustrated by mixing the conglomerate racemate solid with sufficient solvent to partly dissolve it, with glass beads, a racemisation agent and a chiral seed. Presumably the conditions are such that the chiral seeds grow larger by inducing further crystallisation from that particular enantiomer. The solution is maintained as a racemic mixture by the racemisation agent while the racemic solid will dissolve in preference to the chiral solid since it has a greater solubility due to conglomerate nature of the species. The attrition aspect will be necessary in order to ensure that there are a constant supply of chiral seeds within the system (Attrition-Enhanced Deracemization in the Synthesis of Clopidogrel - A Practical Application of a New Discovery).

The method is illustrated in the diagram, below ...

Diagram from Chiral Separation.

Also, see Complete Deracemization by Attrition-Enhanced Ostwald Ripening Elucidated.

The technique looks to be a more sophisticated form of resolution by entrainment as described in "Enantiomers, Racemates, and Resolutions" by Jaques, Collet and Wilen p 223, which explains that the process was first described in 1886 by Genez, a student of Pasteur. He wrote in a letter to Pasteur,

"I have observed that a supersaturated solution of levorotatory double salt sodium ammonium tartrate does not crystallize in the presence of a fragment of this salt which is hemihedric in the dextrorotatory sense; and vice versa, the supersaturated solution of the dextrorotatory salt yields no crystals when seeded with the levorotatory salt.

This fact led me to study the inactive solution of the double salt sodium ammonium racemate. I prepared a solution of this salt from the racemic acid. ... When seeded by a particle of dextrorotatory salt, it yielded only dextrorotatory crystals. A portion of the the same liquid in contact of levorotatory crystal produced a deposit of levorotatory salt. Here then is a simple means for separating at will one or the other of the two salts which constitute the double salt sodium ammonium racemate.
"

Over one hundred and forty years later ... we have an improved process.

27 November 2009

The RSC Speaks

Earlier in the month I criticised the Royal Society of Chemistry for being silent on a number of topical issues, one of which was the dismissal of Professor Nutt from the UK's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

I am now happy to report that this situation has now changed with the publication of the latest edition of Chemistry World, 6, 10; "Chemists quit UK drugs Council".

The piece is informative, well written (thanks to Anna Lewcock), it provides a deeper analysis than what I've seen in the UK media and gives us a greater details as to why the UK gov's continuing implementation is a shambles.

- They don't have the expertise available to draft sensible legislation to cope with Spice, for instance.

So, well done RSC.

One aspect that comes across from this whole affair is that the UK government are trying to create a class of scientists; specifically Government Scientists who know as much about science as policital scientists.

26 November 2009

Freedom of the Just

A couple of days ago I provided a quick link to a lecture by the Master of the Rolls about rights, responsibilities and the rule of the law.

To give a flavour of the lecture I took two quotations from it. One was the ratio from Entick v Carrington, the other was ...

"To paraphrase Lord Denning, the freedom of the just is worth little to them if they can be preyed upon indiscriminately."

Here is an example of someone being indiscrimately preyed upon,

"Forced into Prison / Mental Hospital for not revealing cryptographic keys to the Kafkaesque Police and (in)Justice system here in the United Kingdom."

And,

"UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files. Terror squad arrest over model rocket, By Chris Williams."

25 November 2009

Middle Class Benefits

Of the many middle class benefits I would like to draw your attention to housing benefit. Housing benefit is supposedly aimed at poor people who cannot afford high rental rates; instead, I believe that it is aimed at lining the pockets of property owning rentiers.

Consider this ...

"Paul Galbraith - Paul is a full-time property investor and developer who over the last 7 years has built an extensive portfolio of residential property in Leeds, West Yorkshire.


Paul bought his first property at age 19, with no savings, without telling his parents, funding everything 100% off his own back by holding down 4 jobs & a full time degree at University (BA Hons in Jazz Studies) – buying a house made sense as he had to self-fund his education without the ‘bank of mum & dad’. By age 22 he’d single handily bought & refurbished 5 houses ‘on foot’ – his time was spent walking around the area where he lives with a rucksack full of tools doing the maintenance on his houses & carrying beds on his back several miles from one property to another.
Funding was via. 0% credit cards, using his student loans to buy tools/ parts for refurbishment & re-mortgaging his properties to release capital increase. Paul then decided to quit University, ‘learn to drive’ & focused his attention on the property business full-time.

Paul is an accredited landlord in Leeds and as such, he’s been working with the Local Housing Allowance (the system that replaced Housing Benefit last year) for the last 5 years. Spotting an opportunity with DSS tenants, Paul has built a large property portfolio and uses social housing to devastating effect. He has no voids & limitless tenants for his rental portfolio which leaves him ample time to play in the rhythm section of his local jazz band. Paul will give a talk called:

How To Recession Proof your Property Portfolio. This is what you will learn:

  • The Secrets To Getting Paid Directly from the Local Housing Allowance
  • How to Squeeze Every Last Drop Out Of Your Tenant’s Entitlement
  • How to Get Your Local Council Actively Batting For You
  • How To Split Up Properties & Skyrocket Your Rental Profits
  • How to Identify The Best Benefit Tenants And Keep Them In Your Houses"


You can find more details as to how the tax-payer is lining Paul's pocket by visiting the ...

North East Property Forum - December Event

24 November 2009

Bench Top Fabbing




Fascinating article for those who have access.

M o R Lecture

Find a comfortable seat in a quiet spot. Make sure you have access to a cups of tea and read the following,

LORD NEUBERGER OF ABBOTSBURY MR

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES: CIVIC DUTY AND THE RULE OF LAW

2009 DENNING LECTURE


Look out for the quote,

"To paraphrase Lord Denning, the freedom of the just is worth little to them if they can be preyed upon indiscriminately."

And of course, Entick v Carrington

"“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole. The cases where this right of property is set aside by private law, are various. Distresses, executions, forfeitures, taxes etc are all of this description; wherein every man by common consent gives up that right, for the sake of justice and the general good. By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass. No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.”

21 November 2009

Phil Jones Hacked

Let's begin with the story from the New Scientist,

" Hacker breaks into climate change research institution
An anonymous hacker has broken into the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and posted over 1000 confidential emails from key climate change scientists online.

The emails could prove to be extremely damaging to the reputation of the scientists and the robustness of their research if they are revealed to be authentic.
"

For examples of these emails we have, "Hackers Prove Global Warming Is A Scam", which shows data being massaged (ie, procrusteanism) so that it supports their hypotheses.

The culprit appears to be a chap called Prof Phil Jones

If this turns out to be true ... it will be a massive scandal.
The story continues ... Climategate: how the MSM reported the greatest scandal in modern science and Climate scientists accused of 'manipulating global warming data'.

20 November 2009

Legal Trouble in the North East

1. Walking past Alderman Fenwick's house earlier today I noticed that someone had stuck thick black tape over part of the brass plate that would ordinarily display the name of the legal firm, Hunt Kidd; the Legal 500 recommended law firm.

I made a point of going past it because earlier in the week local BBC radio reported that the offices had been shut; its licence suspended and two of its solicitors had to answer to the solicitors regulation authority.

The story is taken up in the local newspaper, "Law firm shut as investigation starts."

"The SRA stated that it acted on the belief that Kenneth Hunt and Barbara Gayton had breached practicing regulations and a full regulatory hearing is now expected to follow in the New Year. If the pair are found to have broken professional regulations, it is understood they could ultimately be struck off.

An SRA spokesperson said: “The Solicitors Regulatory Authority have intervened into the practice of Hunt Kidd Law LLP on November 9 on the grounds of suspected financial irregularities on the part of Kenneth Hunt and Barbara Gayton.

“The practising certificates of both Mr Hunt and Mrs Gayton have been suspended with immediate effect.”
"

2. Malcolm Graham and Wendy Gurr have been arrested as part of the Northeast property buyers (Company No. 05609732) scandal. Northeast Property buyers bought houses from people who couldn't keep up with their mortgage loan repayments with a view to renting the property back to them. This meant that the former homeowners would be able to live in the property as tenants. Unfortunately, Northeast property buyers met financial difficulties with the result that whoever lent the money to Northeast property buyers wanted to liquidate assets. In other words, they wanted to sell the properties occupied by the tenants. It isn't clear why proprietary estoppel isn't being played by the tenants but a number of people have already been evicted.

This business practice is currently being investigated by the police with the result that, "Second solicitor arrested in fraud probe".

(Note Graham ran SFM Legal Services (Company No. 05718006) along with Gurr. This company provided legal services to Northeast Property buyers and were based in the same business unit).

Again, more details as they emerge ... but this is the tip of the iceberg in the UK. Expect more scandals of this nature and political fallout - remember that the taxpayer is underwriting all of this sh*t.

I wonder when they'll be enough details to start creating Lombardi diagrams?


Update 26th Nov 2009, Solicitor Barbara Gayton arrested after firm closed,

"The Journal can now reveal that partner Barbara Gayton has been arrested on suspicion of [s4 Fraud Act 2006] fraud by abuse of position."


Update 12th December 2009 "Solicitor from Alnwick arrested in £1m fraud probe"

"A SOLICITOR from one of Tyneside’s most prominent law firms has been arrested in connection with a £1m fraud probe.

A 63-year-old man was arrested at his home in the Alnwick area of Northumberland yesterday morning and brought to Newcastle to be questioned by officers from Northumbria Police’s Economic Crime Unit.

The Journal understands him to be Kenneth Hunt, a partner at Newcastle solicitors Hunt Kidd.
"


Update 17th December 2009, "Arrested solicitors struck off after SRA hearing"

"TWO solicitors arrested in connection with the North East Property Buyers scandal have been struck off by law industry watchdogs.

Malcolm Graham and Wendy Ostell, also known as Gurr, were both stripped of their right to practise at a Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) disciplinary hearing.

And the two former directors of Gateshead-based SFM Legal Services, have both also been given heavy fines.

Mr Graham, 34, of Darras Hall, Northumberland, has been ordered to pay £116,800 in costs, and Ms Gurr, 32, of Whickham, Gateshead, will have to cough up £20,000.
"

Update 21st Jan 2010, SRA Interventions(scroll down).

"Hunt Kidd Law Firm
On 5 November 2009, the committee resolved to intervene in the above recognised body of Alderman Fenwick’s House, 98-100 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 6SQ, on the basis that they were satisfied that grounds for intervention existed under paragraphs 1(1)(a)(i) and (c) of part I of schedule 1 to the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended), namely that there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Kenneth Hunt and Barbara Gayton; and that they had failed to comply with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998. In addition, the committee was satisfied that grounds for intervention existed under paragraphs 32(1)(a) and (d) of schedule 2 to the Administration of Justice Act 1985, namely that Hunt Kidd Law Firm had failed to comply with the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998, and that there was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of its officers, Mr Hunt and Mrs Gayton.

Nigel Coates of Russell Cooke, 2 Putney Hill, London SW15 6AB, 020 8789 9111, has been appointed to act as the intervention agent.

The first date of attendance at the practice address was 9 November 2009 and all client files/accounting records were uplifted.

The practising certificates of both Mr Hunt and Mrs Gayton have been suspended with immediate effect.
"

Solicitors Regulatory Authority Decisions: Kenneth Hunt - 096179 Decision - Closure. Barbara Gayton - 126291 Decision - Closure

Update 29th January 2010 - "North East Property Buyers director bankrupt

Update 10th January 2011. Solicitors at Hunt Kidd in Newcastle charged with theft,

"Two solicitors have been charged with stealing more than £1m from clients."

19 November 2009

Not So Nice Bargaining


As far as chemical processes go, on the basis of the scheme above, the preparation of sorafenib (a component of Nexavar) looks quite straightforward. The product should be available for a relatively low cost.

As for the price ... that appears to be another matter.

"Nice's decision not to approve the liver cancer drug Nexavar is painful but necessary" according to The Telegraph, which goes on to say,

"Data submitted to Nice shows that supplying the drug to the 600 to 700 people with advanced liver cancer would cost a total of £7.7m.

That would give those people the chance of an extra precious few months and admittedly some have lived for six months or longer on Nexavar. But the data shows that the median survival benefit is 2.8 months, and that means that for those who may gain six months, some will gain a lot less or nothing at all.
"

The dosage is 4 x 0.2 g = 0.8 g per day, for 3 months (90 x 0.8 g = 72 g) for 600 people (72 g x 600 = 43.2 kg).

The price of the drug, on the basis of those figures is GB pound 7.7 million divided by 43,200 g = GB pound 178.24 per gram.

As for the cost, in the absence of doing the calculation (perhaps I should), I'd guess that it would be substantially cheaper than the figure given above.

18 November 2009

Journalism Award Goes To ...


The raid that rocked the Met: Why gun and drugs op on 6,717 safety deposit boxes could cost taxpayer a fortune

More than 500 officers smashed their way into thousands of safety-deposit boxes to retrieve guns, drugs and millions of pounds of criminal assets. At least, that's what was supposed to happen. Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark investigate



I just thought that this was an impressive story and an impressive effort by the two journos, for reasons such as ...

"... the twin Judicial Reviews finally succeeded in prising from the Yard a startling 32-page 'skeleton discussion'. This document - which we were able to obtain after being given a case number by a senior source in Customs and then trawling through court records at the Royal Court building - provides an extraordinary insight into how the police managed to obtain a warrant for Rize."

And, for reasons such as,

Tracking down and interviewing the victims; making the point that the vast majority of them were entirely innocent; making the point that the police tried to wear the victims down; making the point that the police were suspected of thefts from the boxes; making the point that POCA was being abused; drawing attention to the judge shopping, explaining how the initial application was knocked back and the second application was disingenuous ...

... all very important issues.

I hope my silly drawing isn't taken as trivialising what is an impressive piece of work ... well done Levy and Scott-Clark.

The Silence of the RSC


The Royal Society of Chemistry claims to be

"... the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences."

We have seen the sacking and humiliation of a scientist for the analysis and reporting of science in the form of Professor Nutt, yet there has been no statements of support or otherwise from the RSC.

Every couple of years Blighty bemoans the lack of pupils opting for science; one year it was said,

Why be a scientist when you can be his boss?

The Nutt affair has certainly reinforced this view.

Now we discover that a female scientist ended up whoring herself when she ran out of money during her PhD studies.

As yet, the RSC hasn't said anything. As to what this will do for the reputation of scientists in British society and for those who opt for science remains to be seen.

As a slogan, this is pathetic.

Train to become a Phd scientist; the money is so bad that you may end up becoming a prostitute to make ends meet.

(Keep it secret though, it may cast doubts upon your integrity as a scientist).

Currency of Ransoms: Gold vs Fiat

The Times has an interesting story in "Army tells its soldiers to 'bribe' the Taleban", where it describes some aspects of a newly published counter insurgency manual.

According to the article from the Times,

"British forces should buy off potential Taleban recruits with “bags of gold”,"
.
This story reminded me of one of the aspects of the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq by coalition forces. Following the collapse of the Iraqi regime there was and is continuing a series of kidnappings - see, for example, "Foreign hostages in Iraq."

As this turn of events began to unfold, I began to notice that some kidnappers would demand a ransom to be paid in gold; others would demand the ransom to be paid in US dollars. Also, the journalist or news organisation reporting these stories would tend to convert the ransom demand into national currency: a pernicious example of Gonzo journalism. When the story was just breaking it would give an accurate report; as the story was re-written throughout the day, it would give the conversion and then simply give the national currency equivalent as though that was the demand.

This may explain why the internet doesn't yield the results of ransom demands denominated in gold. However, my memory tells me this is what happened.

When I noticed this anomaly, I wondered why and who. Why would a particular group of kidnappers demand US dollars; why would a particular group demand gold.

As to who: I imagined that the US dollar kidnappers were CIA proxies whilst the gold kidnappers were bona fide kidnappers (if that isn't a contradiction). I have no other evidence for this statement; I just remember it being very strange that in what was a failed state, anyone would dealin such large sums in US dollars rather than gold.

14 November 2009

Guilty Plea Acceptable?

Charlie Chaplin
(Charlie Chaplin once lost a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest)


If someone pleads guilty because of duress such as torture should the court accept the plea?


Analysis from the Telegraph, "Analysis: New York trial for 9/11 mastermind risky but bold."

13 November 2009

But Didn't They Kill Him?

Back in October 2002, it was widely accepted that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was killed in a joint American-Pakistani raid.

Here's something from the Asia Times,

A chilling inheritance of terror
By Syed Saleem Shahzad


"KARACHI - Ever since the frenzied shootout last month on September 11 in Karachi there have been doubts over whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed head of al-Qaeda's military committee, died in the police raid on his apartment.

Certainly, another senior al-Qaeda figure, Ramzi Binalshibh, widely attributed as being the coordinator of the September 11 attacks on the United States a year earlier, was taken alive and handed over to the US. The latest information is that he is on a US warship somewhere in the Gulf.

Now it has emerged that Kuwaiti national Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did indeed perish in the raid, but his wife and child were taken from the apartment and handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in whose hands they remain.
"

Anyone got any links to the truth of the matter?

The BBC reports, 'NY trial' for key 9/11 suspects, "[a]lleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be sent from Guantanamo Bay to New York for trial in a civilian court, reports say."

12 November 2009

Interesting Case From Bulgaria

In Atanasova v HMP Holloway & Anor [2009] EWHC 2740 (Admin) a woman claims that her former boss, a public prosecutor in Bulgaria called Filchev put her in fear of her life.

"At about midnight Filchev appeared at the door of the room I was being held in. I was so scared when I saw him, I had a panic attack. It was the end of me mentally. Filchev asked the guard in the room not to let anyone else come in. Filchev took out his pistol and placed it on the desk on the room. He played with it on the table. He asked if I realised who I was dealing with, why I did not understand and said that I needed to be taught a lesson. He shouted that I was nobody and nobody would take my words against his. I was so frightened; I was crying and pleading with him to forgive me, promising I would never say anything about him again. Filchev held his gun against my forehead; I felt the cold metal on my skin. I was terrified and I wet myself. Filchev threatened that I was, "on the way to being at the end of a bullet and that no one would know where I was". He said there would be no record of his visit to the police station. He wanted to know whom I had spoken to about him. I said I had told nobody, I begged him for mercy. He told me this was my last chance and that if I put a foot wrong again I would be "out of the game". I was so frightened, I was sobbing. He left the room, smiling. He seemed to enjoy terrorising me."

She doesn't want to return to Bulgaria: this case was her fight against extradition.

The extradition application was found to have been made on the basis of bad faith (oseef s11(3) of the Extradition Act 1989): she was not extradited.

It wasn't clear whether or not she would have been extradited under more recent legislation, the 2003 Act.

A further point; as I was reading the case I thought of the smug bigots who claim that stories such as this should be dismissed as conspiracy theory.

Lastly, a related case of interest.
Kolevi v. Bulgaria (application no. 1108/02)
UNLAWFUL DETENTION OF A SENIOR BULGARIAN PROSECUTOR AND INEFFECTIVE INVESTIGATION INTO HIS MURDER
Violations of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 5 §§ 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights

This time from Strasbourg. As for Filchev, last I heard, he was the Ambassador for Kazakstan.

CRB Checks

The Daily Telegraph has a shocking story, "15,000 people criminalised by Criminal Records Bureau over past six years".

"Up to 15,000 people have been wrongly branded criminals or accused of more serious offences by the Government agency which vets the backgrounds of people who want to work with children, The Daily Telegraph can disclose."

They also report that, "[a] spokesman for the CRB said that the agency’s work had prevented 100,000 people from working with vulnerable people over the past five years."

Unfortunately, they don't give the total numbers of people checked over the period so that we can't get values for false positives etc. (See An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem).

There isn't a lot else to say about the story. Frightening, shocking and most probably useless.

Here are two reported cases of what happens when the system fails ...

Desmond v The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshhire Police [2009] EWHC 2362 (QB).

S, R (on the application of) v West Mercia Constabulary & Anor [2008] EWHC 2811 (Admin).

11 November 2009

Is Recycling Domestic Waste By The Individual A Normal Civic Obligation?

I ask this question because the Lords have amended the Justice and Coroners Bill where, "Measures to tackle the scourge of "modern-day slavery" have been added to the Coroners and Justice Bill by the government."

"The law would target those who hold another person "in slavery or servitude" or require them to "perform forced or compulsory labour" and is based on article four of the European Convention on Human Rights."

Looking at the House of Lords debate, we have Amendment 15,

"(1) A person (D) commits an offence if—

....

(b) D requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is being required to perform such labour.
"

This is all very well but is this compatible with how local councils have interpreted the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 (c 29)?

I know this sounds odd but ... bear with me. Councils in England and Wales are liable under section 45 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for the collection of household waste. Whilst the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 provides that,

"... the authority shall ensure that the arrangements it makes in relation to those premises include the arrangements mentioned in subsection (3) below,

....
(3) The arrangements are arrangements for the collection of at least two types of recyclable waste together or individually separated from the rest of the household waste.
"

Although this does not have to be done until 31st December 2010 (see s(4) of the Act) almost every council is implementing this method of collection.

The problem is that some of the councils are implementing the measure in such a manner that the householder has to sort out the waste. They pick up the waste every fortnight rather than every week and refuse to take waste that hasn't been separated.

Is this "forced labour"?

The law Lords tells us that we should interpret Amendment 15 (above) according to Article 4 of the European Convention of Human Rights. This can be found in Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c 42)

Article 4
Prohibition of slavery and forced labour


1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

3. For the purpose of this Article the term “forced or compulsory labour” shall not include:

....

(d) any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.


Arguably, sorting out waste into recyclable and non-recyclable parts is forced labour. Would it be acceptable to kidnap third world children and issue them to every household for the sole purpose of sorting waste? Of course not, but the issue is one of proportionality. Although the previous suggestion was outrageous; if you could arrange a situation without kidnapping, without child labour but ensure that the labour is forced then it breaches the Article. The householder does not have any choice under the current system as to whether or not he can sort his waste. If he doesn't, it will not be picked up and he will most probably be fined.

But Article 4 gives a derogation, "if the work is part of normal civic obligations" it doesn't breach Article 4.

This brings us back to the title of this post and is as far as I'm prepared to go: to get an idea of the answer to this question requires analysis of ECHR case law.

One further point: it isn't necessary to wait until Amendment 15 becomes law before waste collection practices can be challenged through this analysis. The Human Rights Act 1998 ensures that all government agencies have to comply with the listed articles of the ECHR.

Update Article 2 of The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Commencement No. 4, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2010 provides,
"2. The provisions of the 2009 Act specified in the Schedule shall come into force on 6th April 2010."
where article 4 of the Schedule provides,
"4 Section 71 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour)."

Lastly, we have Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides,
71Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour

(1)A person (D) commits an offence if—

(a)D holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is so held, or

(b)D requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that D knows or ought to know that the person is being required to perform such labour.

(2)In subsection (1) the references to holding a person in slavery or servitude or requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour are to be construed in accordance with Article 4 of the Human Rights Convention (which prohibits a person from being held in slavery or servitude or being required to perform forced or compulsory labour).

(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding the relevant period or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years or a fine, or both.

(4)In this section—

“Human Rights Convention” means the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms agreed by the Council of Europe at Rome on 4 November 1950;

“the relevant period” means—
(a) in relation to England and Wales, 12 months;
(b) in relation to Northern Ireland, 6 months.

Update 23rd February 2011, Britain's system of rubbish collection is a marvel of waste and mess, is an article that, in part, says
"We once had a refuse disposal system admired across the world, which made landfilling a public benefit, not something to be looked on as almost as evil as smoking. So why do our bureaucrats appear to misuse an EU directive, to create an unholy shambles which so signally fails to realise the benefits claimed for it?"
If waste recycling is pointless, not achieving its stated aim, then this lends support to the argument that recycling is forced labour since, an exercise in deceipt and futility is not part of a normal civic obligation.

10 November 2009

How Women Are Disempowered By Maternity Rights

Klimmt - Hope

The editor of Vogue, Alexdra Shulman, writes in the the Mail Online, "Year-long maternity leave, flexi hours, four day weeks... why would ANY boss hire a woman?", an article about women's rights with regard to pregnancy in the workplace.

"In this provocative and very personal article, Vogue editor ALEXANDRA SHULMAN argues that mothers' rights are making women unemployable..."

I'd go further. The rights are disempowering women. These rights are only available to women who manage to secure a position either in the public sector or in a large corporation. Although they may be available in smaller organisations and, of course, are availabe in smaller organisations (both in law and practice); they cannot be available to the same extent as the former classes of organisation.

As for a woman as employer rather than employee getting these rights - yeah, right.

In a nutshell that's my point. If you're female, if you're go getting and want to make it outwith the state sector or large corporation; you have very little chance of doing so. The playing field is not only on a massive slope, these regulations have put a huge ha-ha in the middle of it; not only to mock but to keep the cattle from rising beyond their station. The only way to fulfil your ambition is to bend and ameliorate it such that you have to be a corporate fink.

The chances of you becoming an employer within this legal environment are negligible and diminishing.

We are looking at the case of Marshall again. A case where someone who worked for the state had more rights than someone who didn't: except this time employees working for corporations are included.

09 November 2009

Johnson Confusion

I've been trying to follow the case of PC Johnson who left his dogs to die in his car. The press reports have been opaque at the best of times, leaving me under the impression that PC Johnson was going to claim that he was unfit to plead.

It appears that this was a complete misunderstanding; he didn't attend one of his hearings because of illness. The reporting of this aspect of the case gave me the impression that he was claiming to be unfit to plead.

Well, the BBC reports that, "Pc denies dogs car death charges", in this report they explained that Johnson appeared at court today. He denied the charges and a court date has been set for 22nd February 2010.

Philosophical Belief and Science

I've been thinking about the jurisprudence behind Grainger plc v Nicholson, since the judgment was published, this is my third post about the case.

Continuing from my previous note where I argued that the judgment was wrong, on the basis of the criteria set out by Burton J. In this post, I would like to write about science as a philosophical belief within the parameters of equality law jurisprudence.

Is science a philosophical belief? Yes. Certainly.

Science is a part of philosophy that says that objective reality can be explained by applying the scientific method, where the scientific method is an evolving philosophy of thought and action. The last refinement of the philosophy of science happened in 1931, Popper's idea of falsifiability. As such I anticipate that it will continue to evolve as philosophy evolves, and I anticipate that the breadth of objective reality which it can describe will increase as technology improves such that ideas about this objective reality can be tested by falsification.

As a philosophical belief this is compatible with Burton J's criteria set out in para 24 of his judgment,

  1. "The belief must be genuinely held.

  2. It must be a belief and not, as in McClintock, an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available.

  3. It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour.

  4. It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.

  5. It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, be not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others (paragraph 36 of Campbell and paragraph 23 of Williamson)."

But what about, as in Grainger (man-made global warming) a philosophical belief that is based upon science? Surely this is a contradiction, a non sequitor. Science is a philosophical belief; can you have a philosophical belief based upon another philosophical belief where the latter belief undermines the very nature of the former, the foundation, belief? It doesn't make sense, it is irrational.

This is the error in Grainger. Science as a philosophical belief is worthy of respect in a democratic society. Basing a philosophical belief on science undermines science: the philosophical belief either is scientific or it is not: if not, it is not worthy of respect in a democratic society.

It doesn't matter that the two philosophical beliefs happen to coincide. It is not invetable that they will continue to do so; it is wrong to support a philosophical belief that may be incompatible with a more fundamental philosophical belief.

I would, however, take extreme care in not undermining any other philosophical beliefs: beliefs that are not supposedly predicated on science. Eg, humanism, or any other examples found within Grainger and beyond. I distinguish these philosophical beliefs from the ones that are supposedly based upon science.

As I said earlier, fascinating jurisprudence.